July 28, 2011

the years march on

The other day a friend who is also a mother, sympathizing, reminded me that I'm not so young as I was when I was caring for my first toddler.

I must confess that it caught me off-guard.  She's right, of course.  Nearly ten years have passed since then, and so, mathematically speaking, I must have aged ten years.  I am ten years older.  That can't be argued with.  Can it?

My Farmer cautioned me against letting this conversation persuade me to view my situation differently.  What if, I asked him, she's right about something I have neglected to notice?  He looked at me askance, but offered no rebuttal.

And so the case stands.  Am I older, or am I not?  Is age just in the mind?  Does aging ten years mean I should (or may) be having a different and more difficult experience raising my full-throttle (but adorable) Lil' Snip than I did while raising my equally adorable, but far more predictable, firstborn Sugar?

(And is it possible, do you think, to use parenthetical phrases too frequently?)

Obviously Sugar and Lil' Snip have different temperaments, so raising them feels different.  But I, too, am changed, I hope, in ten years' time.

Physically I don't feel that different (although I confess to not paying so much attention to that sort of thing as perhaps I ought).  The few white hairs I found after Sugar's birth have not multiplied so much that the novelty of finding one has ceased to amuse me.  I feel tired more often, but mostly since Lil' Snip, the fireball, started walking.  The four pregnancies, births, and recoveries I've had in the last ten years have been similar.

Am I wiser?  Have I gained perspective?  Perhaps my Maker (or my Farmer) can tell.  I am blind to my progress or regress.  (A poor memory is sometimes a friend, sometimes a foe.)

In the end, it doesn't matter.  My Farmer, as usual, is right.

If I have a particularly weary day and it is consoling to remember my advanced age, I shall.  If I have a particularly smooth day and it is encouraging to reflect on the lessons I've learned in my ten years as a mother, I shall.  The rest of the time, however, I'll just be me, as oblivious to my age as Lil' Snip is, and get on with the living before me.

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